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Mar 2, 2009 09:19 AM

Authentic Sichuan in Denver?

Is there any authentic Sichuan restaurants in Denver?

I am hoping to find a restaurant that has someone manning the kitchen from Sichuan Province or who otherwise can cook authentic Sichuan fare.

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  1. I'll be watching for replies as well. I have found the Chinese to be largely crap in Denver.

    1. recent NY transplant, queens more specifically. loved going to the food courts in flushing. oh how i miss it! anything anyone? anything near boulder? can't find any good sushi either...

      12 Replies
      1. re: liveloveat34

        Can't find good sushi in Denver/Boulder? Guess haven't looked to hard. Sushi Tora and the showier Sushi Zanmai are arguably the purest. Nearby Japango and Hapa have some good offerings too. Haven't been to Kava yet. All downtown.

        In Denver, Sushi Den is usually rated the highest. Domo (country Japanese, no sushi) is terrific too -- foodwise, tho' service tends to be uneven.

        1. re: ClaireWalter

          I would add Sushi Sasha on 15th just over I-25 from downtown to that list. I really like that place, my favorite in Denver. Try the monk fish liver, Mmmmmmmm.

          1. re: nateco

            I know that there are other really good sushi-erias in Denver, but I live in Boulder, so I'm most familiar w/ those.

            I escaped from NY/Hoboken more than 20 yers ago, and I missed Chinatown a lot until I finally discovered some PGCRs (pretty good Chinese restaurants), some of which serve really terrific, authentic dim sum (Kings Land, Super Star, the new Heaven Star). When I go back to NY, which I do once or occasionally twice a year, I get into the rhythm right away, but after 5 days or so, my jaw is clenched, my shoulders are tense and I get "that heacache" that I lived w/ for years. I wouldn't trade our mountains and big skies for all the tea in Queens.

            1. re: ClaireWalter

              Funny, Claire, I escaped from Manhattan some 20 years ago as well, and I get the same feelings you describe when I go back to visit, except my limit is 3 days, not 5. :) I have long since grown accustomed to the fact that Chinese food is not the same here, but it's good enough to satisfy the craving when I have it, and the alternative -- living in NYC -- is terrifying!

            2. re: nateco

              i've heard good things about sasha- will def have to try it out soon!

              1. re: liveloveat34

                It's actually Sasa, and it's very, very good. I too am an East Coast transplant and definitely think it's on a par.

                Ditto dim sum at Heaven Star and King's Land. I also like a place called Chopsticks a lot. These are all in Denver, except Heaven Star, which is in Broomfield.

                Here's Sasa's website.

                Here's a blogpost I did on it last summer.

                I'm on my way to NY for a few days tomorrow, and of course I plan to hit Chinatown and Koreatown, plus indulge in a few other things I can't get here, like Turkish food. Still, there isn't *much* I can't get here—and since I'm a fan of Southwest Mex (I know Californians largely aren't, their loss) and since I think Denver has *the best* dive bars in the country—I'd just as soon be here paying less for more in 300 days of sunshine. Just sayin.'

                1. re: tatamagouche

                  yikes, thanks, Sasa is the place I meant, and rereading my post again I see a second mistake, it is just east of I-25 on 15th, not just over I-25

                  1. re: tatamagouche

                    Tatamagouche - In addition to Chinatown and Koreatown (where is that?), the Greek delis/resaurants in Astoria (Queens) are also worth a field trip.

                    With all this, we still haven't answered the question about genuine Sichuan in Denver. We've all segued into discussions about Chinese fare in general and even sushi. Frankly, Eade, I've only had gringo Sichuan, so couldn't really answer. Many all-purpose Chinese restaurants have some dishes they label as Sichuan, but that's all I know. As to where individual chefs hail from, that's a question that probably would take a latterday Charlie Chan to figure out. (And if there are any PC Police out there ready to light into me for referencing a stereotypical fictional character from decades ago, lighten up.)

                    1. re: ClaireWalter

                      there's a huge chinatown in flushing with an abundance of korean restaurants as well. was living in astoria before moving to boulder- maybe thats why i miss ny so much. didnt experience the same "get me outta here" feeling there.

                      1. re: ClaireWalter

                        ?? Just ask where the chef is from.

                        Anyway, back to the original topic, there is original Sichuan in Denver. I posted the name below.

                        1. re: ClaireWalter

                          ?? Just ask where the chef is from.

                          Anyway, back to the original topic, there is original Sichuan in Denver. I posted the name below.

                          (I meant to reply to this one)

                  2. re: ClaireWalter

                    i've tried all four- Tora was definitely the best followed possibly by hapa on pearl...wasnt impressed with japango at all. akiyama in gunbarrel is good but way overpriced. still not too taken by boulder's sushi offerings...

                2. Going back to the original question, I've never heard of authentic Sichuan in Denver nor would I expect to find any. The Chinese population in Denver isn't that numerous, and it's really the Vietnamese population that drives the existence of authentic Chinese restaurants in Denver, and they are clearly partial to Cantonese/Hong Kong style Chinese food. Indeed only a few cities in the US have authentic Sichuanese food.

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    CHINA JADE on E Iliff

                    There is indeed authentic Sichuan in Denver, as I've happily found out. . .

                    Don't misunderestimate Denver!

                    1. re: eade

                      awesome! what disges did u have or can recommend?

                        1. re: eade

                          Great! I just read thru the reviews, and I'm so excited to try it out hopefully this weekend. Thanks!

                      1. re: eade

                        Lori Midson at Westword agrees heartily with you on that score, as I understand. Gotta check it out.

                        1. re: eade

                          OK. I'm going to sound pretentious here but I have to ask. Although I've never been to Sichuan Province, I do go to China 2-3x per year on biz. At a Sichuan restaurant in Beijing, I had a "hot pot" type of fish that could possibly be the best thing that I have ever ingested in my life. Yes, a bit of hyperbole. It was a pot of boiling oil with cut up pieces of fresh fish and then various peppercorns tossed in for flavor. I've yet to find this guy anywhere in the US, including Flushing, NY.

                          1. re: PitLab

                            That doesn't sound pretentious, it sounds great, but what's the question? Whether you can get it here?

                            1. re: PitLab


                              You can get Sichuan hot pot in the US.

                              The only two places in the US I have ever had it was at (1) the branch of Grand Sichuan branch on Lexington and 33rd and (2) Little Pepper / Xiao La Jiao in Flushing.

                              The Grand Sichuan branch in Chelsea is overall better, but that branch does not have hot pot. Hot pot is rather labor intensive, and they may have decided at the constantly crowded Chelsea branch it is not practical. Also, it is a seasonal dish; I am not sure if you can get it anywhere if it is not winter.

                              The service at Grand Sichuan was better than Little Pepper / Xiao La Jiao, where we felt they were pushing expensive items on us.

                              Neither restaurant had the hot pot (huo guo) menu in English. Also, you have to ask for the Chinese hot pot menu, they do not automatically hand it to non-Asian people. I imagine by now these places are used to non-Chinese speakers asking for hot pot / huo guo menu though, so be sure to ask for it.

                              I have never heard of Sichuan hot pot in Denver. . . perhaps China Jade would be our only hope, if they add it to the menu in winter.

                              There are other varieties of hot pot. In Flushing, as I recall, you could also get Shanghainese hot pot and Mongolian hot pot.

                              1. re: eade

                                I know King's Land does hot pot; what type it is I'm not sure. Charsiu doesn't post on here super often, but if he sees this, I know he's had it.

                                1. re: tatamagouche


                                  Nothing wrong with Cantonese hot pot, some people might prefer it to Sichuan.

                                  However, Cantonese is fairly easy to find; Denver is like a meadow full of Cantonese three leaf clovers. Finding authentic Sichuan is like finding a four leaf clover.

                                  1. re: eade

                                    One more authentic Sichuan place has sprung up in Denver:

                                    Ocean Forest Cafe on the corner of Kipling and Jewell in Lakewood.

                                    Ask for the Chinese menu. Now it is only written in Chinese, but I've listed some dishes below in English and also they will help you there with other dishes.

                                    For those of us on the west side of town, we no longer have to schlep to China Jade. Also, I think Ocean Forest Cafe beats China Jade.

                                    Sichuan Spicy Cold Noodles
                                    Sichuan Spicy Fish and Vegetable Stew
                                    Sichuan Spicy Fish Soup with Pickled Vegetables
                                    Pea Shoots and Garlic
                                    Water Spinach and Garlic
                                    . . . and four different kinds of hot pot which we have not tried yet, but it looked good on the tables of others we've seen order it